COP21 deal: Indigenous peoples fear rights might be dropped

Voltaire Tupaz –

4 December 2015

PARIS – Representatives of the world’s indigenous peoples took their
fight for their rights to the Blue Zone in Le Bourget, where the 5th day
of climate negotiations are being held.

In a silent protest on Friday morning, December 4, the indigenous
delegation held placards inside the conference venue, demanding that
their rights should remain under the preamble and article 2 of the

They feel that the articulation of their rights should be clear not only
in the statement of principles but also in the operational text.

“There is a risk of indigenous peoples rights getting omitted from the
final agreement,” Lakpa Nuri Sherpa of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact
(AIPP) told Rappler.

The US, European Union, and Norway are said to be blocking references to
human rights in Article 2, which includes recognition of indigenous
peoples rights, according to Rukka Sombolinggi, deputy secretary-general
of Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara (AMAN), an Indonesian NGO.

“We got the information from the negotiations rooms,” she said. “And
we’re afraid that if we don’t give them pressure that reminds them of
their commitments (under) the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples, we will probably lose everything here.”

In the first draft that was released Thursday, December 3, Article 2
still mentioned “the respect, protection, promotion and fulfilment of
human rights for all, including indigenous peoples.” (READ: Progress in
Paris: Draft climate change deal is out)

Article 2.2

[This Agreement shall be implemented on the basis of equity and science,
in [full] accordance with the principles of equity and common but
differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities[, in the
light of national circumstances] [the principles and provisions of the
Convention], while ensuring the integrity and resilience of natural
ecosystems, [the integrity of Mother Earth, the protection of health, a
just transition of the workforce and creation of decent work and quality
jobs in accordance with nationally defined development priorities] and
ncluding the right to health and sustainable development, [including the
right of people under occupation] and to ensure gender equality and the
full and equal participation of women, [and intergenerational equity].]

The draft text is heavily bracketed, meaning the wording of various
sections is contested by negotiators from member countries.

Indigenous peoples, who own, occupy or manage about 65% the world’s land
surface, “have been largely excluded” from national climate change
mitigation and adaptation plans, according to the UN Development
Programme (UNDP).

There are at least 370 million indigenous peoples in 90 countries,
comprising 5% of the global population and 15% of the world’s poor, the
UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues reported.

Indigenous proposals

The UN Human Rights Office earlier called on countries “to take action
to protect those who lack the resources to protect themselves, as well
as providing access to effective redress for climate harm.”

“What we want to see is that the response in Paris is one that takes
into account the impacts of climate change on human rights,” it stressed.

About 250 indigenous leaders who engaged in unprecedented consultations
in their regions in the Arctic, North America, Asia, Pacific, Latin
America, and the Caribbean, Russia and Eastern Europe, and Africa
submitted proposals to the ongoing talks. (READ: Indigenous peoples to
world leaders: We carry burden of climate change)

In the document crafted by the International Indigenous Peoples’ Forum
on Climate Change (IIPFCC), they reiterated their resolve to contribute
their traditional knowledge and livelihood to adapt to and mitigate the
effects of climate change. –